I just did this yesterday so I thought I would write it up while I have it fresh in my mind. The front shocks are the worst. You will need some odd sized sockets. Have 16mm, 18mm, and 20mm sockets and wrenches ready. I mention this because VW rarely ever use these sizes and some socket kits do not include them. You will also need a floor jack and small bottle jack.
- Remove the hub cab and loosen the lug bolts.
- Jack up the van on the side you will be working.
- Remove the bolt and nut that hold the upper mounting point of the shock to the frame of the van (18mm). There is a plate that is about 10″ long and two inches wide that the shock mounts to. This is what you are removing and the top of the shock will also come loose from the van at the same time.
- Remove the lower shock mounting bolt. (20mm and 21mm)
- Remove the shock from the van.
- Remove the old shock from the upper mounting plate. (16mm)
- Inspect the upper shock rubber bushings and replace or reuse. Note how they are sandwiched in there so you can be sure to put them back in the right order.
Important Note if installing Bilstein Heavy Duty Shocks in place of OE shocks: The OE shocks have a metal dust cover on the top of the shock which acts as a support for the bottom of the front shock bushings. The HD Bilsteins have a flimsy plastic dust cover so they come with a separate metal plate on the top of the shock. This is meant to go below the upper shock bushing sandwich of parts. So your upper shock bushing sandwich should go like this, nut, OE upper metal plate, rubber bushing, metal shock mount, rubber bushing, new lower metal plate and plastic dust cover. If you are replacing the shocks with OE Boge ignore this note.
- Reinstall upper end of shock to mounting plate.
- Use the bottle jack on the lower control arm and raise it until you can line up the hole with the drop link.
- Put the shock up in place and line up the upper plate first then when that is lined up with the stud and bolt hole lower it slightly and put the long bolt through the lower shock bolt hole and through the drop link hole as well.
- Now jack up the bottle jack further so that the upper plate is pushed up into place and start the two upper mounting bolt and nut.
- Tighten the upper plate first then tighten down the lower mounting bolt and nut.
- Reinstall the wheel and lower the van down on the ground. Recheck the tightness of the bolts with the van sitting on its wheels.
The rear shocks are much easier. You won’t need to remove the rear tire unless you really want to. You will need an 18mm and a 16mm socket with a long extension.
- Jack up the van in the rear right in front of the rear wheel where the control arm mounts.
- Remove the 18mm head bolt that is at the top of the shock. It is accessible after you jack the van up a bit through the rear wheel well. Trace the body of the shock up toward the top and you will see it.
- Get under the rear of the van and remove the lower shock mounting bolt (16mm).
- Push the shock up and toward the front of the van and it will have enough room to come out.
- Inspect the lower shock mounting bushings to see if they can be reused or replace them with new ones. Note how they are sandwiched together so you can put them back in the same way. They are very similar to the way the upper front shocks mounts are put together.
- Push the top of the shock up and then you should be able to pull the lower end of the shock into place.
- Install the lower mounting point of the shock first.
- Use the jack to lower the van a bit if needed to get the upper bolt hole to line up and tighten it down.
- Lower the van back down on the ground and recheck the tightness of the bolts with the suspension loaded.
Print this out, and stick it in your Bentley.
If you appreciate the help we have given you here please support Van-Again with your parts purchases. Thank You!